Chronic Pain: No Longer an Invisible Disease

Friday, 13 February 2015: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room LL21A (San Jose Convention Center)
What if your doctor could actually see where it hurts? Pain is the leading cause for emergency room visits as well as for long-term sick leave and disability, yet pain is still measured by subjective self-report. To adequately address the pain epidemic, there is a dire need to develop innovative imaging markers that will enhance translational pain research and improve clinical care. The research presented in this symposium shows objective correlates to pain-generating processes in peripheral tissue in patients suffering from chronic pain. Imaging studies using positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) scanning reveal specific patterns of peripheral muscle tissue uptake in sites corresponding to the pain localizations experienced by the patients. Researchers will present novel findings of objective changes in the neck in patients with chronic whiplash associated pain, corresponding to the painful sites described by the patients. Imaging can also provide new insights about headaches. Results from a study on a Manhattan population using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) show that the participants who suffered from migraine had double the odds of silent brain infarctions compared to those reporting no migraine. The new data may stimulate new ways of understanding chronic pain and give possibilities for new diagnostic tools in the evaluation of chronic pain patients.
Linda Koffmar, Uppsala University
Clas Linnman, Harvard Medical School
Functional and Molecular Imaging of the Brain in Pain